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Wondering why Cisco is teaching network engineers Python in addition to their core expertise?
 
Yes, arguably there are many other tools available to use to automate the network without writing any code. It is also true that when code is absolutely necessary, in most companies software developers will write the code for the network engineers. However, networks are getting progressively more sophisticated and the ability for network engineers to keep up with the rate of change, scale of networks, and processing of requirements is becoming more of a challenge with traditional methodologies. 
 
Does that mean that all network engineers have to become programmers in the future? Not completely, but having certain tools in your tool belt may be the deciding factor in new or greater career opportunities. The fact is that current changes in the industry will require Cisco engineers to become proficient in programming, and the most common programming language for this new environment is the Python programming language. Already there are more opportunities for those who can understand programming and can also apply it to traditional networking practices. 
 
Cisco’s current job boards include a search for a Sr. Network Test Engineer and for several Network Consulting Engineers, each with  "competitive knowledge" desired Python and Perl skills. Without a doubt, the most efficient network engineers in the future will be the ones who will be able to script their automated network-related tasks, create their own services directly in the network, and continuously modify their scripts. 
 
Whether you are forced to attend or are genuinely interested in workshops or courses that cover the importance of learning topics related to programmable networks such as Python, the learning curve at the very least will provide you with an understanding of Python scripts and the ability to be able to use them instead of the CLI commands and the copy and paste options commonly used.  Those that plan to cling to their CLI will soon find themselves obsolete.
 
As with anything new, learning a programming language and using new APIs for automation will require engineers to learn and master the skills before deploying widely across their network. The burning question is where to start and which steps to take next? 
 
In How Do I Get Started Learning Network Programmability?  Hank Preston – on the Cisco blog page suggest a three phase approach to diving into network programmability.
 
“Phase 1: Programming Basics
In this first phase you need to build a basic foundation in the programmability skills, topics, and technologies that will be instrumental in being successful in this journey.  This includes learning basic programming skills like variables, operations, conditionals, loops, etc.  And there really is no better language for network engineers to leverage today than Python.  Along with Python, you should explore APIs (particularly REST APIs), data formats like JSON, XML, and YAML. And if you don’t have one already, sign up for a GitHub account and learn how to clone, pull, and push to repos.
 
Phase 2: Platform Topics
Once you have the programming fundamentals squared away (or at least working on squaring them away) the time comes to explore the new platforms of Linux, Docker, and “the Cloud.”  As applications are moving from x86 virtualization to micro services, and now serverless, the networks you build will be extending into these new areas and outside of traditional physical network boxes.  And before you can intelligently design or engineer the networks for those environments, you need to understand how they basically work.  The goal isn’t to become a big bushy beard wearing Unix admin, but rather to become comfortable working in these areas.
 
Phase 3: Networking for Today and Tomorrow
Now you are ready to explore the details of networking in these new environments.  In phase three you will dive deep into Linux, container/Docker, cloud, and micro service networking.  You have built the foundation of knowledge needed to take a hard look at how networking works inside these new environments.  Explore all the new technologies, software, and strategies for implementing and segmenting critical applications in the “cloud native” age and add value to the application projects.”
 
Community resources: 
GitHub’s, PYPL Popularity of Programming Language lists Python as having grown 13.2% in demand in the last 5 years. 
Python in the  June 2018 TIOBE Index ranks as the fourth most popular language behind Java, C and C++. 
 
Despite the learning curve, having Python in your tool belt is without a question a must have tool.

What are the three most important things non-programmers should know about programming?
 
Written by Brian Knapp, credit and reprint CodeCareerGenius
 
 
Since you asked for the three most important things that non-programmers should know about, and I’ve spent most of my career working with more non-programmers than programmers, I have a few interesting things that would help.
 
Number One - It Is Impossible To Accurately Estimate Software Projects
 
No matter what is tried. No matter what tool, agile approach, or magic fairy dust people try to apply to creating software… accurately predicting software project timelines is basically impossible.
 
There are many good reasons for this. Usually, requirements and feature ideas change on a daily/weekly basis. Often it is impossible to know what needs to be done without actually digging into the code itself. Debugging and QA can take an extraordinary amount of time.
 
And worst of all…
 
Project Managers are always pushing for shorter timelines. They largely have no respect for reality. So, at some point they are given estimates just to make them feel better about planning.
 
No matter how much planning and estimation you do, it will be wrong. At best it will be directionally correct +/- 300% of what you estimated. So, a one year project could actually take anywhere between 0 and 5 years, maybe even 10 years.
 
If you think I’m joking, look at how many major ERP projects that go over time and over budget by many years and many hundreds of millions of dollars. Look at the F-35 fighter jet software issues.
 
Or in the small, you can find many cases where a “simple bug fix” can take days when you thought it was hours.
 
All estimates are lies made up to make everyone feel better. I’ve never met a developer or manager who could accurately estimate software projects even as well as the local weatherman(or woman) predicts the weather.
 
Number Two - Productivity Is Unevenly Distributed
 
What if I told you that in the average eight hour work day the majority of the work will get done in a 30 minute timeframe? Sound crazy?
 
Well, for most programmers there is a 30–90 minute window where you are extraordinarily productive. We call this the flow state.
 
Being in the flow state is wonderful and amazing. It often is where the “magic” of building software happens.
 
Getting into flow can be difficult. It’s akin to meditation in that you have to have a period of uninterrupted focus of say 30 minutes to “get in” the flow, but a tiny interruption can pull you right out.
 
Now consider the modern workplace environment. Programmers work in open office environments where they are invited to distract each other constantly.
 
Most people need a 1–2 hour uninterrupted block to get 30–90 minutes of flow.
 
Take the 8 hour day and break it in half with a lunch break, and then pile in a few meetings and all of a sudden you are lucky to get one decent flow state session in place.
 
That is why I say that most of the work that gets done happens in a 30 minute timeframe. The other 7–8 hours are spent being distracted, answering email, going to meetings, hanging around the water cooler, going to the bathroom, and trying to remember what you were working on before all these distractions.
 
Ironically, writers, musicians, and other creative professionals have their own version of this problem and largely work alone and away from other people when they are creating new things.
 
Someday the programming world might catch on, but I doubt it.
 
Even if this became obvious, it doesn’t sit well with most companies to think that programmers would be paid for an 8 hour day and only be cranking out code for a few hours on a good day. Some corporate middle manager would probably get the bright idea to have mandatory flow state training where a guru came in and then there would be a corporate policy from a pointy haired boss mandating that programmers are now required to spend 8 hours a day in flow state and they must fill out forms to track their time and notify their superiors of their flow state activities, otherwise there would be more meetings about the current flow state reports not being filed correctly and that programmers were spending too much time “zoning out” instead of being in flow.
 
Thus, programmers would spent 7–8 hours a day pretending to be in flow state, reporting on their progress, and getting all their work done in 30 minutes of accidental flow state somewhere in the middle of all that flow state reporting.
 
If you think I’m joking about this, I’m not. I promise you this is what would happen to any company of more than 2 employees. (Even the ones run by programmers.)
 
Number Three - It Will Cost 10x What You Think
 
Being a programmer, I get a lot of non-programmers telling me about their brilliant app ideas. Usually they want me to build something for free and are so generous as to pay me up to 5% of the profits for doing 100% of the work.
 
Their ideas are just that good.
 
Now, I gently tell them that I’m not interested in building anything for free.
 
At that point they get angry, but a few ask how much it will cost. I give them a reasonable (and very incorrect) estimate of what it would cost to create the incredibly simple version of their app idea.
 
Let’s say it’s some number like $25,000.
 
They look at me like I’m a lunatic, and so I explain how much it costs to hire a contract programmer and how long it will actually take. For example’s sake let’s say it is $100/hr for 250 hours.
 
To be clear, these are made up numbers and bad estimates (See Number One for details…)
 
In actuality, to build the actual thing they want might cost $250,000, or even $2,500,000 when it’s all said and done.
 
Building software can be incredibly complex and expensive. What most people can’t wrap their head around is the fact that a company like Google, Apple, or Microsoft has spent BILLIONS of dollars to create something that looks so simple to the end user.
 
Somehow, the assumption is that something that looks simple is cheap and fast to build.
 
Building something simple and easy for the end user is time consuming and expensive. Most people just can’t do it.
 
So, the average person with a brilliant app idea thinks it will cost a few hundred or maybe a few thousand dollars to make and it will be done in a weekend is so off the mark it’s not worth considering their ideas.
 
And programmers are too eager to play along with these bad ideas (by making bad estimates and under charging for their time) that this notion is perpetuated to the average non-programmer.
 
So, a good rule of thumb is that software will cost 10 times as much as you think and take 10 times as long to finish.
 
And that leads to a bonus point…
 
BONUS - Software Is Never Done
 
Programmers never complete a software project, they only stop working on it. Software is never done.
 
I’ve worked at many software companies and I’ve never seen a software project “completed”.
 
Sure, software gets released and used. But, it is always changing, being updated, bugs get fixed, and there are always new customer requests for features.
 
Look at your favorite software and you’ll quickly realize how true this is. Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, iOS, Android, Windows, and now even most video games are never done.
 
There are small armies of developers just trying to keep all the software you use every day stable and bug free. Add on the fact that there are always feature requests, small changes, and new platforms to deal with, it’s a treadmill.
 
So, the only way out of the game is to stop working on software. At that point, the software begins to decay until it is no longer secure or supported.
 
Think about old Windows 3.1 software or maybe old Nintendo Cartridge video games. The current computers and video game consoles don’t even attempt to run that software anymore.
 
You can’t put an old video game in your new Nintendo Switch and have it “just work”. That is what happens when you think software is done.
 
When programmers stop working on software the software starts to die. The code itself is probably fine, but all the other software keeps moving forward until your software is no longer compatible with the current technology.
 
So, those are the four most important things that non-programmers should know about programming. I know you asked for only three, so I hope the bonus was valuable to you as well.

I will begin our blog on Java Tutorial with an incredibly important aspect of java development:  memory management.  The importance of this topic should not be minimized as an application's performance and footprint size are at stake.

From the outset, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) manages memory via a mechanism known as Garbage Collection (GC).  The Garbage collector

  • Manages the heap memory.   All obects are stored on the heap; therefore, all objects are managed.  The keyword, new, allocates the requisite memory to instantiate an object and places the newly allocated memory on the heap.  This object is marked as live until it is no longer being reference.
  • Deallocates or reclaims those objects that are no longer being referened. 
  • Traditionally, employs a Mark and Sweep algorithm.  In the mark phase, the collector identifies which objects are still alive.  The sweep phase identifies objects that are no longer alive.
  • Deallocates the memory of objects that are not marked as live.
  • Is automatically run by the JVM and not explicitely called by the Java developer.  Unlike languages such as C++, the Java developer has no explict control over memory management.
  • Does not manage the stack.  Local primitive types and local object references are not managed by the GC.

So if the Java developer has no control over memory management, why even worry about the GC?  It turns out that memory management is an integral part of an application's performance, all things being equal.  The more memory that is required for the application to run, the greater the likelihood that computational efficiency suffers. To that end, the developer has to take into account the amount of memory being allocated when writing code.  This translates into the amount of heap memory being consumed.

Memory is split into two types:  stack and heap.  Stack memory is memory set aside for a thread of execution e.g. a function.  When a function is called, a block of memory is reserved for those variables local to the function, provided that they are either a type of Java primitive or an object reference.  Upon runtime completion of the function call, the reserved memory block is now available for the next thread of execution.  Heap memory, on the otherhand, is dynamically allocated.  That is, there is no set pattern for allocating or deallocating this memory.  Therefore, keeping track or managing this type of memory is a complicated process. In Java, such memory is allocated when instantiating an object:

String s = new String();  // new operator being employed
String m = "A String";    /* object instantiated by the JVM and then being set to a value.  The JVM
calls the new operator */

The World Wide Web is a fun place to connect with old friends, make new ones, and stay involved in social media. It can also be a dangerous place for those who don’t know how to be safe on the web. Children, teenagers, and young adults with Asperger’s syndrome are especially vulnerable to fraud, sexual predators, and other online dangers.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder on the autistic spectrum. Children, teenagers, and adults with this developmental disorder are not sick. They’re brains are wired differently from people who are not on the spectrum. In the autistic community, people who are not on the spectrum are referred to as neurotypical.

The reason Internet dangers are so much more of a risk for people with Asperger’s syndrome is because of the symptoms associated with it. The best way to describe Asperger’s to someone who is not familiar with it is to call it a social learning disability. The parts of the brain responsible for reading facial expressions, body language, and other social cues do not function properly.

Tech Life in North Dakota

Chartered in 1884 the University of Jamestown, a liberal arts college is the oldest independent college in the state. In 2007, Jamestown began the ?Journey to Success?, a program targeted at preparing students for rapidly changing environments. After twenty years of fundraising the school has nearly tripled their student body and began construction of new buildings to replace the original structures from the 1920?s.
I'm always learning something. Learning never ends. Raymond Carver
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Software developers near Bismarck have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in North Dakota since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Weblogic programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Weblogic experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Weblogic programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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